Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Michael J. Zaworotko, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Shengqian Ma, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jianfeng Cai, Ph.D.

Committee Member

McColm Gregory, Ph.D.


Coordination Polymers, Metal Ion Exchange, Metal-Organic Frameworks, Salt Addition


Metal-organic materials (MOMs) represent an emerging class of materials comprised of molecular building blocks (MBBs) linked by organic linker ligands. MOMs recently attract great attention because of their ability to exhibit permanent porosity, thereby enabling study of properties in the context of gas storage, gas separation, solid supports for sensors, catalysis and so on. Although MOMs have been studied for over 60 years, the porous nature of MOMs was not systematically and widely explored until the early 1990's. This may be one of the reasons why template-directed synthesis of MOMs remains relatively underexplored, especially when compared to other classes of porous material (e.g. zeolite and mesoporous silicates). However, the study of template-directed synthesis exhibits great significance to the research field of MOMs as these considerations: (i) to access analogues of prototypal MOM platforms that cannot be prepared directly; (2) to create porous materials with new topologies; (3) to transfer the functionality of templates to MOMs; (4) to exert fine control over structural features.

In this dissertation, I chose a functional organic material, porphyrin, as templates and succeeded to synthesize a series of porphyrin-encapsulating MOMs, (porph@MOMs), in which the porphyrins were encapsulated inside the cavities as guests. Porphyrins molecules can template the formation cavities with different shapes and sizes (e.g. triangle, square or hexagon) to accommodate the porphyrins molecules when organic ligands with different size and symmetry were utilized during the synthesis. On the other hand, the porphyrins molecules can also template the formation of octahemioctahedral cages or hexahedron cages with porphyrins trapped inside, which further built the tbo, pcu, rtl, zzz, mzz networks.

By selecting templated porph@MOMs as platforms, post-synthetic modifications (PSMs) of porph@MOMs were further studied. A cadmium MOM, porph@MOM-10, can undergo PSM by Mn(II) or Cu(II) via single-crystal-to-single-crystal processes. The Mn- and Cu- exchanged PSM variants exhibit catalytic activity for epoxidation of trans-stilbene. Porph@MOM-11 can serve as a platform to undergo a new PSM process involving cooperative addition of metal salts via single-crystal-to-single-crystal processes. The incorporation of the salts leads to higher H2 and CO2 volumetric uptake and higher CO2 vs CH4 selectivity. Porph@MOM-11 was also found to be a versatile platform that can undergo metal ion exchange with Cu2+ in single-crystal-to-single-crystal fashion. The use of mixed metal salt solutions (Cu2+/Cd2+) with varying ratios of metal salts enabled systematic study of the metal exchange process in porph@MOM-11 in such a manner that, at one extreme, only the Cd porphyrin moieties undergo metal ion exchange, whereas at the other extreme both the framework and the porphyrin moiety are fully exchanged. It is also observed that a concerted PSMs approach of metal ion exchange and ligand addition towards a porphyrin-walled MOM, porphMOM-1 affords a porphyrin-encapsulating MOM, porph@MOM-14, in which porphyrin anions are encapsulated in the octahemioctahedral polyhedral cage via weak interactions.

Beside of the template-directed synthesis and post-synthetic modification of porph@MOMs, pre-synthetic control of metal-organic materials' structures was also studied in this dissertation. Due to the partial flexibility of 1,3-benzenedicarboxylate linkers, kagom[eacute] lattice and NbO supramolecular isomers were observed from a complexation of bulky 1,3-benzenedicarboxylate ligand to Cu(II) paddlewheel moieties. In addition, a new family of hybrid nanoball vanadium MOM structures (Hyballs) was prepared by the self-assemble of trimesic acid with tetranuclear and pentanuclear vanadium polyoxometalates. These hyballs are robust, permanently porous and their exterior surfaces facilitate cross-linking via hydrogen bonds or coordination bonds to generate pcu networks.